I have a special treat for visitors to The Faith Cafe today: a guest post by my dear friend Veronica Gerber. I’m sure you’ll be as impressed as I am with her Biblical insights and compassionate heart. Enjoy!
Yes, I’ll admit it. I’ve become a bit of a coffee snob since I first tasted the black gold that is the hallmark of the 90s: specialty coffee. It’s easy now to simply say “no thanks” to casual offers of coffee at a meeting or the local diner. Once you’ve tasted the real thing, the competition doesn’t even come close: it may look like coffee, perhaps even smell like coffee, but doesn’t quite pack the same punch…there’s simply no comparison.
Can I say the same about my spiritual palate? Psalm 34:8 declares, “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” Once we’ve tasted, as-it-were, the goodness of the Lord, dined at the King’s table, how can we feed again on the swill that darkly courses through the world’s troughs?
Take a reading of your own heart and mind. Are you consciously aware of what you’re drinking in day by day through the eye-gate and ear-gate? If you’re settling for the trough when you could be drinking deeply of the living water Jesus offers, stop.
Why don’t trees freeze to death in winter?
After all, if you or I stood outside naked for several months in sub-zero temperatures, we’d soon be turned into frosty statues.
Trees can’t burrow into the ground and hibernate like bears, and they can’t fly south like migratory birds. They’re fixed in place, at the mercy of the elements.
And yet they somehow survive through the cold depths of winter. Why don’t they turn to ice, since, like other living things, they’re made mostly of water?
Their trick is something called “hardening.”
In autumn, trees in cold climates undergo a change whereby water flows out of their cells. The concentrated sugars, proteins, and acids left behind act as a potent antifreeze. The water now in the spaces between the cells is so pure that ice crystals can’t form. This ultra-pure water can be cooled to -40 degrees F and still remain an ice-free liquid.
Pretty cool, isn’t it?
But what is it that triggers the hardening?
Ah, this is where we can learn a lesson from the trees.
What’s the difference between a tart and a torte?
For that matter, what’s the difference between torte-with-an-e and tort-without-an-e? Are they all edible?
Let’s see if we can straighten out the confusion.
A tart is an open pastry containing a filling. A torte is a multi-layered cake-like confection. They’re both edible (and extremely tasty—see recipe for Lemon Almond Tart below).
Tort is a legal term referring to a wrongful act or infringement of a right. You could try to eat the paper a tort was described on, but I wouldn’t recommend it!
But we’re not quite finished unpacking the meanings of these similar-sounding words.
A tart can also refer to a promiscuous woman: one who has had many sexual partners. A woman others would look down on. A woman polite society might consider to be “loose.”
But we should be careful before we slap anyone with a label such as this. We never know how God might use them.
As gardeners know, some plants need their best buddies nearby in order to flourish.
It’s been known for centuries that planting certain combinations of plants together can help the garden prosper. This practice is known as “companion planting.”
For instance, planting alliums such as garlic underneath roses can protect the latter against blackspot and aphids. When lilies and roses are planted together, the scent of each improves.
Yarrow and foxglove have a tonic effect on the plants in their vicinity. Yarrow helps fight off pests, attracts beneficial insects, and improves the soil. Likewise, foxglove stimulates the growth of nearby plants and helps them build up resistance to disease. Planting foxglove under fruit trees improves the storage qualities of the fruit.
Perhaps the ultimate companion plant is marigold. It has traditionally been grown with tomatoes to keep them healthy and produce a better crop. Marigold’s pungent odour disguises the scent of vegetables from pests, preventing them from homing in, and its root secretions kill nematodes that attack plant roots.
Who wouldn’t want such stalwart companions in their corner?
God wants us to have buddies like these on our team, too.